By Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
The Plateau State Government said it was working towards ending open defecation in the state by the year 2023.
This was disclosed by the Commissioner of Water and Energy Resources, Ibrahim Bello, at the 2020 World Water Day tagged: “Water and Climate Change “, held in the State.
Bello said, “In the near future, we will invite climate organisations to joins hands with us, by supporting our programmes in terms of providing quality water as well as other programmes, such as the open defecation campaign.
“Within the shortest possible time we will call on the Executive Governor of the state come and launch the programme.
“The Governor has already made commitment by declaring a state of emergency in the water sector and has also made a declaration that we would end open defecation by the year 2023, this we are committed to ensuring we achieve.
Speaking on the water situation in the state, the Commissioner said, “Water Resources in Plateau State is currently undergoing a reform process, and we are grateful to our partners, especially for their technical support in this direction and I’m optimistic that the efforts in the reforms will yield positive results and we would all go back home smiling when we 85% to 90% of our population has portable water available.
“The vision of the State Government would ensure that water is made affordable, accessible and sustainable to people of the state.
He maintained that, “We have already seen pilot of the scheme going on in Shendam and Riyom LGAs, and we are also witnesses to the revitalization of the Pankshin water scheme, and we are also witnessing what is ongoing at the Yakubu Gowon dam in Jos and other water points within the Jos-Bukuru metropolis.
“All these efforts are geared towards making water very much available to the citizenry.
“We will continue to appeal to partners to come and partner with us, so that we can make water available”, he stressed.
Coordinator of Society for Water and Sanitation Plateau State, Dr. Vings Lomak urged government at all level to ensure that water gets to poor people in the society.
“Water is our most precious resource; we must use it more responsible. We must balance all of society’s water needs while ensuring the poorest people don’t get left behind.”
He described as apt the 2020 theme of the world water Day “Water and Climate Change” and urged stakeholders and government to prioritize access to clean water and Sanitation for its citizens to enhance livelihood and sustainable environment.
Lomak noted that climate delay is as dangerous as climate denial and urged Nigeria to work quickly towards tackling the menace.
“Extreme weather events are making water more scarce, more unpredictable, more polluted. Humans need water to survive, as do all the systems we rely on sanitation, healthcare, education, business and industry.
He urged citizens to imbibebthe culture of regular hand washing with soap and water and use sanitizers as preventive measures against the COVID-19.
“The Society for Water and Sanitation, Plateau State, is a coordinating network of about 40 Civil Society Organizations, Non-governmental organizations and Faith Based organizations working in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene, environment, climate change and other disciplines.”
Also, the Team Leader of the European Union funded Water and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme iii (WSSSRP iii), Dr Mohammed El-Tijani, said, “This year, World Water Day is focused on the interconnectedness of water and climate change.
El-Tijani who was represented by Rotimi Toviho, Backstopping Assistant Team Leader EU-WSSSRP III, maintained that, “Water is the primary resource affected by climate change, with repercussions on the supply of drinking water, sanitation and water used for food and energy production”.